SUNDAY 19 MAY

Down v Armagh, Páirc Esler, 4pm

Online
Live blogs on RTÉ.ie and the RTÉ News Now app from 3.30pm

Radio
Live updates from Adrian Eames on Sunday Sport, RTÉ Radio 1.

TV
Deferred showing on BBC2 Northern Ireland from 7pm. Highlights of all the weekend’s action on The Sunday Game on RTÉ2 Television and the RTÉ Player from 9.30pm.

Weather

Sunday will be a day of bright or sunny spells and occasional showers, some heavy in the afternoon. Top temperatures of 13 to 17 C. Moderate northwesterly breezes will be fresh in some western coastal areas. For more go to met.ie.

McGeeney seeks elusive first

Páirc Esler, has given us games to savour down through the years. I'm not sure whether this coming together of Down and Armagh will follow suit, but for Kieran McGeeney it offers another opportunity to win a first Ulster championship match as Orchard County boss.

Geezer is now in his fifth year at the helm and while voices of discontent may not be too audible as of now, another summer campaign with nothing tangible to show may see some disgruntlement.

It's all about getting that level of consistency for Armagh. This time last year, the side made a tame Ulster exit at the hands of Fermanagh, yet their championship ended with a fine display against Roscommon in one of the games of the year.

Fast forward to this year's league where they mixed some good with a lot of average.

Connaire Harrison

As for Down, well they threw away a great chance to escape from Division 3 when losing at home to Louth. With Paddy Tally now in charge, the team is much changed from that which got to an Ulster final in 2017.

Tally is well regarded as a coach, and his teams tend to sit deep and hit opponents on the counter.

Remaining defensively solid is a key part of winning games, according to Tally, though he rejects the idea his teams are overly defensive.

Ahead of Sunday's clash, he told RTÉ GAA correspondent Brian Carthy: "If you're looking at your team and you're saying right, if we play a certain way we'll be hard to beat and we'll make it difficult for the opposition, surely you'll do that.

"There are days when you just have to cut your cloth to suit. Over the years, teams I've worked with, we've always made a decision that we're going to work very, very hard.

"We've always have to have an attitude within the team whereby if you don't have the ball, you have to work very, very hard to get it back. There's nothing wrong with that. That's an honest thing you want in any player.

"I don't think I'm an overly defensive coach but I just think a big part of winning games is how tight you are at the back."

Paul Devlin, Kevin McKernan, Connaire Harrison and Donal O’Hehir are the key men in the Mourne attack, with Armagh boasted by the presence of Stefan Campbell, Rory Grugan, Rian O'Neill and Jamie Clarke in their forward division.

LAST 5 CHAMPIONSHIP MEETINGS

2017 Down 0-15 Armagh 2-07 (Ulster quarter-final)
2011 Armagh 1-15 Down 1-10 (Ulster quarter-final) 
2008 Armagh 1-12 Down 0-11 (Ulster semi-final) 
2001 Armagh 1-13 Down 2-04 (All Ireland qualifiers) 
1999 Armagh 3-12 Down 0-10 (Ulster final)

Teams

Ryan Kennedy, Jarlath Og Burns, Aidan Nugent and Rian O’Neill are all set to make their championship starts for the Orchard County.

Down: Rory Burns; Darren O'Hagan, Ruairi Wells, Gerard Collins; Ryan McAleenan, Kevin McKernan, Daniel Guinness; Caolan Mooney, Conor Poland; Conor Francis, Jerome Johnston, Conor Maginn; Pat Havern, Donal O'Hare, Connaire Harrison

Armagh: Blaine Hughes; Patrick Burns, Aaron McKay, Paul Hughes; Ryan Kennedy, Brendan Donaghy, Aidan Forker; Charlie Vernon, Jarlath Og Burns; Aidan Nugent, Ethan Rafferty, Jemar Hall; Rory Grugan, Rian O’Neill, Jamie Clarke.